Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Fundraising
  • Green Whale
  • Kids blogs
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
tins of whale meat

How Japan’s whaling industry is trying to convince people to eat whales

Japan's hunters kill hundreds of whales every year despite the fact that hardly anyone in...
Common dolphins © Christopher Swann

Did you know dolphins have personalities?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
Microplastics on beach

Blue whales and the menace of microplastics – how we’ll solve this problem

Our love affair with plastic began in the 1950s when it revolutionised manufacturing. But what...
A dolphin called Arnie with his shell.

Dolphins catch fish using giant shell tools

In Shark Bay, Australia, two groups of dolphins have figured out how to use tools...
Common dolphins at surface

Did you know that dolphins have unique personalities?

We all have personalities, and between the work Christmas party and your family get-together, perhaps...
Leaping harbour porpoise

The power of harbour porpoise poo

We know we need to save the whale to save the world. Now we are...
Holly. Image: Miray Campbell

Meet Holly, she’s an incredible orca leader

Let me tell you the story of an awe-inspiring orca with a fascinating family story...
The Last Whale

The Last Whale – your chance to win a copy of new book

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...

Whale meat in Berlin: more ‘blame games’ and news of an earlier scandal narrowly averted

Further to our recent blog on the discovery of minke whale meat openly on sale at Berlin’s Green Week and the subsequent Norwegian claims that they were unaware of the illegality of such sales, it is quite interesting to have a look at earlier Norwegian press on the subject.

On Tuesday 21st January, a day before WDC and Berliner Zeitung brought the sale to the attention to the German public and authorities, the Norwegian press ran an article with the headline ‘Whale meat crisis avoided’. The article refers to the German Minister of Agriculture, Hans-Peter Friedrich, who visited the Norway stand during a walkabout. According to the article, Mr. Friedrich was about to be served a selection of Norwegian specialities, including smoked minke whale meat, when a quick-thinking member of the Norwegian delegation intervened at the last moment to prevent the  waiter from feeding the minister the whale meat. The article commented cynically that ‘the German press would probably have been relentless if the German minister had eaten whale meat.’ A follow-up article on Thursday 23rd confirmed that Norwegian company, Myklebust Whale Products AS, was responsible for delivering the whale meat to the Norwegian stand at Green Week. (Myklebust, incidentally, is currently seeking to export around 34,000 kilos of minke whale products to Japan, following a similar export last spring of 4,250 kilos.) 

Myklebust Whale Products CEO, Ole Mindor Myklebust, was also present during the fair. Given his extensive experience of trading whale products as well as involvement in developing new marketing strategies for whale meat, it is impossible that Mr. Myklebust was unaware of the legal situation surrounding this bloody trade. However, in an interview in Norwegian newspaper Sunnmørsposten   he was quick to claim ignorance of any wrongdoing and laid any blame squarely at the feet of both the German customs and the fair management.

“We supplied the meat to a Norwegian registered company.  The product was legally caught, and here we are talking about showing off a Norwegian industry at a booth.  It is the German customs authorities that have not done their job in the first place: beyond that, I will not comment. Had they arrived four hours later, there would have been nothing to seize.” (This latter comment is maybe a reference to the fact that much of the meat had already been sold to visitors).

Innovation Norway, which is the Norwegian government’s official trade representative abroad and responsible for the stand at the Green Fair, was, initially at least, also keen to play the ‘blame game’ and claim ignorance of any lawbreaking. However, only months ago, in April 2013, this state-owned company offered a three-year grant to Fisheries Park AS specifically to develop a marketing strategy, ‘brand association’ and quality standard for whale products – on behalf of the Norwegian whaling industry.  Small chance, then, that Innovation Norway was unaware of the relevant laws and the company eventually acknowledged this and issued an apology

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those involved have conveniently failed to mention the fact that Norwegian law itself was broken in the first instance and the whale meat should never have left Norway if the relevant laws relating to the export of whale products had been adhered to.  The regulations require government registration and an export permit for any proposed export of whale meat from Norway; subject to the provisions of CITES Appendix 1.

About Vanessa Williams-Grey

Policy manager - Stop Whaling and Responsible Whale Watching